Tag Archives: Exclusives

Today in Hip-Hop History: A Tribe Called Quest Dropped Their Sophomore LP ‘Low End Theory’ 30 Years Ago

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On this date in 1991, Queens emcees Q-Tip, and the late Phife Dawg, along with their DJ Ali Shaheed Muhammad, formally known as A Tribe Called Quest, released the group’s second full-length studio album Low End Theory.

The sophomore jinx did not come into play with this project from Tribe, with both Tip and Phife’s rhyme quality better than anything heard from them before. With the Abstract quarterbacking most of the production on the project, with the co-production assistance from Mr. Muhammad and Skeff Amslem, the result is a creative masterpiece. It must also be mentioned that the real-life issues were affecting the group. Phife announced he had diabetes, to firing the World Famous DJ Red Alert as the group’s manager proved that the Tribe was ready for the next level of their career.

As for the album’s highlights, Low End Theory is one of the genre’s conceptual albums that cannot be understood unless listened to in its entirety. From the album’s beginning on “Excursions,” which would cause the average Tribe fan to anticipate the sound of a People’s Instinctive Travels Part 2 until you hear the bass line come in for “Buggin’ Out,” which was possibly the best lyrical showing by Phife on all of ATCQ’s albums. While songs like “Rap Promoter” and “Show Business” talk about the uncertainty of the Hip-Hop industry, tracks like “The Infamous Date Rape” and “Everything Is Fair” talk about social issues that plague urban communities.

Supreme salute to the Tribe, rest in peace to Phife and the Jive Records squad for helping to bring the people such an essential piece of Hip-Hop history 30 years ago.

The post Today in Hip-Hop History: A Tribe Called Quest Dropped Their Sophomore LP ‘Low End Theory’ 30 Years Ago appeared first on The Source.

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Today In Hip Hop History: OutKast Released Their Fifth LP ‘Speakerboxxx/The Love Below’ 18 Years Ago

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Ever since DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince’s He’s The DJ, I’m The Rapper in 1988 the double LP has become a Hip Hop staple. The sheer volume and intensity or work that goes into such an album has made and broken many a rapper in the past. When executed correctly, the double LP can be a timeless masterpiece, compiling all aspects of the artist into something to be appreciated for all time. On this day in Hip Hop history, OutKast released Speakerboxxx/The Love Below giving the world one of the greatest and most successful double albums recorded.

As second Hip Hop album (and first by males) to be awarded a Grammy for Album of the Year, this project’s accolades speak for themselves. A Billboard Hot 100 #1 hit sat on each of the LPs discs(“The Way You Move” and “Hey Ya”),  11 million copies were sold in the United States alone, and the album appeared on 19 top music charts across the globe. Obviously, this is a special album.

Achievements aside, it is the album itself that sets it so far apart from anything that has come out before it. Essentially, this project is two solo albums crafted independently and packaged together. And unlike any of OutKast’s other work, it allows the fans to distinctly experience Big Boi and Andre 3000’s individual artistry. The two discs have very little in common, much like the surface appearance of the tandem, yet compliment each other perfectly.

Disc one, Speakerboxxx, comes from the mind of Antwon Patton aka Big Boi aka Daddy Fat Sacks aka Lucious Leftfoot and is a spot-on representation of his ice-cold pimpin’. Much to the tone of Southernplayalisticaddilacmuizk, Speakerboxxx took things back to bass knocking, trunk rattlin’ “ghetto muzik” sound that gave OutKast its starts. Tracks like “The Way You Move” and “Ghetto Muzik” are examples of the unique marching band inspired pre-trap Atlanta sound that OutKast created.

Disc two, The Love Below, is Andre 3000 contribution and serves as a cathartic experience from the mind of a hopeless romantic. In contrast to disc one, this album is all the way left pushing Hip Hop’s boundaries nearly to their breaking point. On this album, Dre was in rare form, giving the world a peek at a new side of him. On theme with its title, The Love Below delves into a realm that Hip Hop rarely earnestly approaches, love. Produced completely by Andre, the album’s alternative inspiration allows for a unique style of Hip Hop ballad to be created on almost every track. there is very little actual rapping on this half of the album.

To say Speakerboxxx/The Love Below did a lot for Hip Hop is the wildest of understatements. At a time where the south was only good for club-bangers, OutKast continuously provided introspective depth with their work. This project challenged the standard of subjects that can be rapped about. Andre 3000 single-handled brought a new Prince-like style of androgyny to the rap game, unintentionally paving the way for artists today like Young Thug and Mykki Blanco. Its influence makes this album easily the most important Hip Hop LP to ever come out of the Dirty South.

The post Today In Hip Hop History: OutKast Released Their Fifth LP ‘Speakerboxxx/The Love Below’ 18 Years Ago appeared first on The Source.

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Today in Hip-Hop History: De La Soul Released Their ‘Buhloone Mindstate’ LP 28 Years Ago

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On this date in 1993, De La Soul dropped their third full length studio album

The legendary Long Island Hip Hop trio known as De La Soul showed and proved that the third time is the charm when they released their Buhloone Mindstate album two years after their oxymoronic De La Soul Is Dead LP. Marketed and promoted by Tommy Boy Records for DSL’s third time around, Buhloone Mindstate flew pretty much under the radar, but still managed to make 10th on comedian Chris Rock’s Top 25 hip-hop albums of all time as published by Rolling Stone magazine.

The most familiar single would be “Breakadawn”, which features the unforgettable samples from Michael Jackson’s “I Can’t Help It” and Smokey Robinson’s “Quiet Storm”. Even the late great Guru from Gangstarr made an appearance on “Patti Dooke”, making this project one of the most well rounded LP’s from the three Plugs.

Salute to Trugoy, Mace and Posdnous for this classic project!

The post Today in Hip-Hop History: De La Soul Released Their ‘Buhloone Mindstate’ LP 28 Years Ago appeared first on The Source.

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Today In Hip-Hop History: Marley Marl Dropped The Juice Crew Debut Album ‘In Control Vol. 1’ 33 Years Ago

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The title of “super producer” is not one to be taken lightly. For every era of Hip-Hop, there is a man behind the keys set the tone. Dr. Dre, Pete Rock, RZA, Swizz Beatz, Jermaine Dupri, Timbaland, The Neptunes, Mike Will Made-It, and Metro Boomin are among the few who have dictated what Hip Hop has sounded like over the years. Super producers have even spanned genres to influenced music as a whole, bringing the Hip Hop style to the masses.

On this day in Hip Hop history the culture’s first super producer, Marley Marl, released his debut compilation, In Control, Vol. 1, and forever changed the sound of Hip Hop. Before this album, Marley Marl’s true importance to Hip Hop had yet to be openly stated. It was known that he had a hand in some of the biggest records to have out at the time but this album put them all in the same place, proving what Marley Marl was doing to help Hip Hop evolve.

Before Marley Marl, Hip Hop production was quite primitive: the drums were sounded synthetic, the loops were monotonous, and as a whole production was more of a skeleton waiting to be filled by an MC. Marley Marl gave the instrumental life. His signature drum loops and soulful samples brought a new tone to Hip Hop. A Marley Mal beat served less as a compliment to the artist’s ability and more as fuel to jumpstart the intensity of the rapper, bringing out the best in him or her.

Commercially, this album was the success it was bound to be. Featuring Juice Crew members Biz Markie, Craig G., Roxanne Shante, Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap, Heavy D, and more from Marley Marl’s private army. Pushed by the infamous Cold Chillin’ Records, the album peaked at #163 on the Billboard 200 and brought great publicity to Cold Chillin’ as a top label in Hip Hop. Following this album, the label rose to become a household name in Hip-Hop and Marl Marley grew to become an immortal icon of Hip Hop culture.

The post Today In Hip-Hop History: Marley Marl Dropped The Juice Crew Debut Album ‘In Control Vol. 1’ 33 Years Ago appeared first on The Source.

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Today In Hip-Hop History: Nice & Smooth’s ‘Ain’t A Damn Thing Changed’ LP Turns 30 Years Old!

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On this date three decades ago, BX Hip Hop duo Nice and Smooth released their sophomore album Ain’t A Damn Thing Changed on the Rush Associated Labels imprint.

Back in 1991 when Naughty By Nature was just putting us on to the meaning of O.P.P., Nice & Smooth were seasoned MCs gearing up for their second effort. This succeeded their self-titled debut album, which came like a breath of fresh air to the “no smiles” rap climate among NY emcees in the early 90s. Songs that dropped real-life melodic messages like the Tracy Chapman inspired “Sometimes I Rhyme Slow” and the party-driven “Hip Hop Junkies” made for a solid project that was played on the radio and respected in the streets. Their harmonizing was a return to the era where performers put on a show and if you ever see Nice and Smooth live, you know that’s exactly what you get.

Shout out to Greg Nice and Smooth Bee for blessing the fans with this classic!

The post Today In Hip-Hop History: Nice & Smooth’s ‘Ain’t A Damn Thing Changed’ LP Turns 30 Years Old! appeared first on The Source.

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Today In Hip Hop History: Tupac Shakur Signs To Death Row Records 26 Years Ago

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After serving just eight months on a three year sentence for a sexual assault charge, Tupac Amaru Shakur was released from prison, but not before signing a three album contract with Death Row Records under the directive of Suge Knight on this date in 1995.

In exchange for posting his $1.4 million bail, Tupac signed to Knight’s Death Row label with a $1million advance for Hip Hop’s then living legend. Immediately upon his release, Tupac set in motion the songs and situations that would spawn the East Coast vs. West Coast beef, all while promoting his 10x platinum album All Eyes On Me.

Shakur’s fame and success was cut short after he was shot and killed in Las Vegas in September 1996.

The post Today In Hip Hop History: Tupac Shakur Signs To Death Row Records 26 Years Ago appeared first on The Source.

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Today in Hip-Hop History: Sugar Hill Gang Releases ‘Rapper’s Delight’ 42 Years Ago

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On today’s date 42 years ago, Hip Hop’s first Billboard Top 40 single “Rapper’s Delight” was released by Englewood, New Jersey’s Sugarhill GangAs one of  Hip Hop’s earliest relics, this single, which was written by The Cold Crush Brothers’ own Grandmaster Caz, is credited with bringing the art of rap to a multicultural mainstream audience.

In the ’70s, disco and soul still reigned supreme in the clubs and lounges of the countries urban centers. Hip Hop, in its most primitive form, was still misunderstood (and exclusive to New York City and California). Breaking, tagging, rapping, and spinning records were widely recognized as the borderline criminal activities of whatever city’s urban youth. The culture’s cult following was majority made up of housing project residence, the type to not frequent the discos and bars of their respective downtown centers. Every once and a while someone would drop a single that would break through and get some shine on the club scene but never make much of a splash nationally. “Rapper’s Delight” was a different story.

On September 20, 1979, new wave bands Blondie and Chic were playing a concert at New York’s renown Palladium with British punk rock band The Clash; Hip Hop’s earliest socialite (and soon to be television host) Fab Five Freddy was on the scene with Sugarhill Gang members Big Bank Hank, Mike Wright, and Master Gee. Having just released a single featuring Chic’s hit single “Good Times” from their recent international album Risqué, it was natural for the gang to hop on stage and start freestyling as soon as Chic dropped the bass line.

Sometime later, Chic’s Nile Rodgers was out at New York’s Club Leviticus and heard a recorded cut of the very song The Sugarhill Gang ever-so-delightfully interrupted his concert weeks earlier. Enraged, Rodgers immediately sought legal action and attempted to sue the Sugarhill Gang for using his band’s instrumental in their single. The lawsuit was settled out of court and appropriate credit was given to Chic in their part of the song.

With the lawsuit and legal attention came a swarm of popularity. Disc Jockeys in clubs across the country began to spin this record every night of the week. The single gained so much play in the United States that clubs across the globe began to push this song like no tomorrow. Although the single may have only peaked at #36 on the Billboard 200, it was #1 in Canada and the Netherlands, #2 in Belgium, France, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland, and #3 in Germany and the UK. This single song went on the sell platinum in both the United States and Canada with over 5 million copies sold worldwide.

“Rapper’s Delight” may be the most important single of Hip Hop culture. It didn’t event style, it wasn’t the first to gain mainstream success, it wasn’t even from New York, but it was the biggest of its time. What “Rapper’s Delight” did was make it “ok” to listen to and support rap music out in the open. Before this single, Hip Hop was an urban taboo. Upon its release, the connotation transformed from one synonymous with the ghetto to a new and hip musical genre. In a way “Rapper’s Delight” gentrified Hip Hop in a way that made it profitable. Without it, the culture would not be a powerful as it is today.

The post Today in Hip-Hop History: Sugar Hill Gang Releases ‘Rapper’s Delight’ 42 Years Ago appeared first on The Source.

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Today in Hip-Hop History: Ol’ Dirty Bastard Drops His Sophomore ‘N***a Please’ LP 22 Years Ago

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On this day in 1999, the late great Ol’ Dirty Bastard of the Wu-Tang Clan released his second LP Ni**a Please on the Elektra label. Before it’s release, ODB was quoted saying that the then-untitled album had two contenders for its name; God Made and Dirt Don’t Hurt and The Black Man Is God, White Man Is The Devil. Ni**a Please was decided on after the original two were considered too outrageous.

Known for his controversial nature, ODB’s idea of promoting this project was to get his name in the headlines as much as possible, whether it be positive or negative. In the time in between his debut and sophomore release ODB was all over entertainment news and tabloids. His antics included a bail money fundraiser, surviving a shootout with police, interrupting the 1998 Grammy Awards, and even popping up at the welfare office in Brooklyn in a limousine to pick up his food stamps.

Obviously, all press is good press because the album debut on the Billboard 200 at #10 and sold 93,000 copies in the first week. The album went on to be certified gold by the RIAA in the year of its release.

The post Today in Hip-Hop History: Ol’ Dirty Bastard Drops His Sophomore ‘N***a Please’ LP 22 Years Ago appeared first on The Source.

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Today in Hip-Hop History: Notorious B.I.G. Dropped His Debut LP ‘Ready To Die’ 27 Years Ago

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On September 13, 1994, Notorious B.I.G., alongside producers Easy Mo Bee, DJ Premier, Poke of the Trackmasters, and none other than “Puffy” (as Diddy was called then) as the executive producer, released the Hip Hop masterpiece known as Ready To Die.

As Big’s debut album, this highly anticipated release shows the lyrical prowess of the Bed-Stuy big man, and besides Method Man’s assistance on the epic “The What?” track, Mr. Wallace made it happen all by himself. Other than NasIllmatic, no other solo emcee accomplished that feat during that era on the East Coast. Recognized as “The King Of New York” and as seen on a vintage 1995 Source Magazine cover, Big’s legacy was etched in stone with this LP.

Timeless classics from that four and a half mic-er include the DJ Premier produced “Unbelievable,” the back and forth storytelling adventures of “Warning” and “Gimme The Loot,” and the eerie title track itself were just a few of the highlights of this legendary project. That’s not to forget the mainstream success of singles such as “One More Chance,” the Brooklynplayalistic sound of “Big Poppa,” and of course the hood inspirational, Mtume-based “Juicy.”

We only had the chance to get one more album(prophetically named Life After Death) out of one of the game’s greatest lyricists before he was prematurely killed in Los Angeles in 1997. Still, this album will always remind us that B.I.G. was “Ready to Die” because his talent was and will always be larger than life.

Salute to Big (RIP), Premier, Easy, Poke, Lord Finesse, Diddy, Lil’ Kim, and the entire Wallace family for this classic masterpiece!

The post Today in Hip-Hop History: Notorious B.I.G. Dropped His Debut LP ‘Ready To Die’ 27 Years Ago appeared first on The Source.

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Today In Hip Hop History: Kanye West Dropped His Third LP ‘Graduation’ 14 Years Ago

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On this day in 2007, the “old” Kanye released his third studio album, the last of his scholastically themed albums, which is aptly titled Graduation on the Def Jam/Roc-A-Fella imprint.

With the success of his The College Dropout debut and his sophomore Late Registration, Kanye was already on an unprecedented ascension that popular culture was totally unprepared for. The concurrent releases of 50 Cent’s Curtis album and Graduation also created a unique promotion of both projects. However, with West as the newer, “rookie” artist, he was the favored underdog in the competition between the two. Graduation was the obvious winner in terms of sales, selling almost a half-million copies on its first day on the shelves.

Graduation offered several smash singles that gave Ye’ propelling momentum beyond his musical peers and set him well above the rest. Songs like “Can’t Tell Me Nothing,” “Stronger,” and “Good Life” with T-Pain on the help-out made 2007 probably the best year of Kanye’s career. Aside from the fact that Graduation earned Kanye a Grammy and an AMA, this last installation of his tetralogy served as the last piece of happiness before tragedy struck when Ms. Donda West passed away from coronary artery disease and multiple post-operative factors due to or as a consequence of liposuction and mammoplasty just two months later.

Salute to Yeezy, DJ Premier, T-Pain, Lil Wayne, and everyone involved in the Graduation album. Definitely an important piece of Hip Hop history!

The post Today In Hip Hop History: Kanye West Dropped His Third LP ‘Graduation’ 14 Years Ago appeared first on The Source.

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